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A Look at Five Flavoursome Fall Vegetables

The Fall season brings with it lots of wonderful root vegetables. Luckily, in Lebanon most root vegetables are readily available throughout the year, while a few can be seasonal. Remember, root vegetables grow underground so they absorb plenty of nutrients from the soil. As a result, they are packed with a high concentration of antioxidants, iron, and vitamins C, B, and A, helping to cleanse our system. Let’s take a closer look at the nutrient features of five root vegetables, along with some savory recipes that you can try at home.

1- Pumpkin (lakteen)

Let’s start with the mighty orange root vegetable that gets plenty of attention come Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkin is actually low in calories and quite rich in Vitamin A, which is good for supporting a healthy immune system and our vision too. This winter squash has an overall remarkable nutrient profile:

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains the following:

  • Calories: 49
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper, manganese and vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI
  • Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, folate and several B vitamins

Pumpkin is also very high in water (94%) and is a good source of fiber, which can help curb your appetite and benefit your digestion. Pumpkin soup is the ideal comfort food, as it is filling, creamy, and packed with flavour. There are countless recipes for this classic dish.

Here is one that is easy to make with extra tips to make your soup even more tasty!

If you also like pumpkin kibbeh (kibbet lakteen), this is a great recipe to follow courtesy of Souk El Tayeb entrepreneur Kamal Mouzawak,

2- Sweet Potato (batata helweh)

Like its more savory counterpart, this versatile starchy and sweet root vegetable is available year round in Lebanon. Sweet potato is a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and the orange and purple varieties in particular are rich in antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals.

One cup (200 grams) of baked sweet potato with the skin contains the following:

  • Calories: 180
  • Carbs: 41.4 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Fiber: 6.6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 769% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 65% of the DV
  • Manganese 50% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 29% of the DV
  • Potassium: 27% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid: 18% of the DV
  • Copper: %16 of the DV
  • Niacin: 15% of the DV

It so happens that sweet potato contains two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Our bodies cannot digest either type so the fiber stays within our digestive tract and provides a range of gut-related health benefits. For example, it contains one kind of soluble fiber, known as viscous fiber, that absorbs water and softens your stool. In addition, some soluble and insoluble fibers can be fermented by the bacteria in your colon. This creates short chain fatty acids that boosts the cells in your intestinal lining, keeping it healthy and strong. This healthy root vegetable has a mild starchy, sweet flavor when baked or boiled, but when it is fried or roasted, the exterior becomes beautifully crisp and caramelized. If you like the latter type of sweet potato taste and texture, here is a lovely dish that also includes lentils, onions, carrots and lots of aromatic spices

You can also try the yummy nutritious super salad by Jamie Oliver that pairs sweet potatoes with quinoa and broccoli:

3- Ginger (zanzabeel)

Ginger is a flowery root vegetable that has become a very popular household ingredient. It is used as a spice in many of our dishes, desserts and drinks, but it is also proven to be an effective natural remedy for flu, coughs and sore throat: In fact, ginger is simply loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for both your body and brain, this is why it is widely used for medicine too. It is known also for improving digestion, reducing nausea and reducing inflammation. Ginger is an excellent source of antioxidants, which helps to fight free radicals in the body. To know more, read about ginger’s range of benefits here. Ginger mainly consists of water (10%), carbohydrates (72%), protein (9%) and fat (4%).

One tablespoon of ground ginger contains the following:

  • Calories: 18
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Dietary fiber: 0.8 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g, (saturated 0.1 g)
  • Sodium: 1.5 mg
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Iron: 1.1 mg
  • Calcium: 6.2 mg
  • Potassium: 71.3 mg
  • Magnesium: 11.6 mg

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Any dish with some ginger added to it always gives a wonderfully sweet and pungent flavor that can be described as somewhat spicy and peppery, yet a tad lemony! If you like curry, this is an easy noodle soupy version which is superb for those upcoming cold winter days:

If you eat plenty of green salads, like myself, try this creamy and zesty salad dressing with two root vegetables: ginger and carrot:

4- Beetroot (alshamandar)

Our next root vegetable is also referred to as red beet, table beet, garden beet or simply, beet. Beetroot has been associated with various health benefits, such as improved blood flow, lower blood pressure and better exercise performance coupled with improved heart health thanks to its high content of inorganic nitrates. It is a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Beets have a high water content (87%), followed by carbohydrates (8%) and fiber (3%).

100 grams (3/4 cup) of cooked beetroot contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 44
  • Protein: 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.6 grams
  • Sugar: 6.8 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Folate: 20% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 3% of RDI
  • Vitamin C: 6% of RDI
  • Magnesium: 6% of RDI
  • Potassium: 9% of RDI
  • Phosphorus: 4% of RDI
  • Manganese:16% of RDI
  • Iron: 4% of RDI

Beets have a pleasant sweet flavor and they can be eaten raw, boiled or baked. They are ideal in salads and are easy to prepare. If you are a fan of hummus, try it with beetroot; it gives this healthy mezze dish a lovely flavor! Spread it over toasted whole wheat bread and add some avocado slices if you like. You can see the full recipe here:

If you like French fries, go for the much healthier alternative— roasted beetroot and sweet potato fries – using two wonderful root vegetables:

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5- Kohlrabi (Krump)

Kohlrabi (A.K.A German turnip) is a lovely root vegetable that has a taste and texture somewhere between a cabbage and a broccoli stem, although it is slightly sweeter. It is currently in season so you will not have a problem finding it in Lebanon. This root vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and potassium. As a result, it is a great antioxidant; it supports the immune health and protein metabolism; plus, it contributes towards heart health, red blood cell production and fluid balance.

One cup (136 grams) of raw Kohlrabi provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 36
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fiber: 5 g (equivalent to 17% of daily fiber needs)
  • Vitamin C: 93% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of the DV
  • Manganese: 8% of the DV
  • Folate: 5% of the DV

Kohlrabi is a versatile vegetable so it can be consumed in many ways, whether boiled, sautéed or roasted. You can also chop them into small pieces and toss them into your salad or dip them into hummus. Here is a wonderful Asian style noodle dish that is packed with flavor and easy to prepare:

Another scrumptious dish is Kohlrabi curry that is quick and easy to prepare. You can serve it alongside some brown rice, roti or nan (Indian flatbread): .

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Well that’s it for our roundup of five fall root vegetables! If you enjoyed what you read and want additional tips on how to make the most of fall vegetables, check out some more recipes here courtesy of Mindbodygreen. Check out these excellent vegetarian nutritious soup recipes as well, which will come in handy as the weather cools in these coming months! Hope you enjoyed what we shared with you, and if you have any amazing recipes using seasonal vegetables do share them with us! We always love to hear from you. Finally, always choose fresh, local and organic produce where possible that are free from GMOs, pesticides, and any other harmful additives. Remember, your health is a priority and what you ingest is of utmost importance! Bye for now…


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